Explora Journeys second cruise ship Explora II will cruise from Jeddah to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on 9-night roundtrip in the Red Sea, before sailing an 11-night itinerary to Dubai in 2024.
Explora II will then return to Saudi in 2025 with another 9-night itinerary roundtrip from Jeddah, followed by a 9-night cruise to Athens. The four cruises during 2024 and 2025 mark MSC Cruises expanding presence in the country.
Saudi Arabia has fast established itself as a major cruise destination and cruise source market (Explora Journeys is a luxury subsidiary of MSC Cruises).
These four Saudi cruises will form part of Explora II’s series of Middle East itineraries out of Dubai, and from Durban and Cape Town in South Africa, part of a globe-trotting program of cruises that take in almost every region of the world.
Explora II’s first cruise from Saudi Arabia will depart Jeddah on November 12th, 2024. The 9-night roundtrip itinerary takes in Aqaba in Jordan, Safaga in Egypt, and Al Wajh in Saudi Arabia. In a showcase of Explora Journey’s destination-focused itineraries, the ship will stay overnight in each port of call, including Jeddah on the first and last nights of the voyage.
Aqaba in Jordan is of course the ancient gateway to the iconic lost city of Petra, as well as the magnificent expanse of the Wadi Rum desert, along with rich dive sites and historic sites in Aqaba itself.
Safaga is the gateway to Egypt’s city of Luxor, which is home to the ancient ruins of Thebes, which at one time was the capital of Ancient Egypt, while Al Wajh is one of the oldest coastal cities in Saudi Arabia with splendid architecture, including old hilltop houses overlooking the port and an abandoned town.
Explora II then departs Jeddah again on November 21st, 2024 for an 11-night cruise to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This itinerary takes the ship out of the Red Sea via the evocative Bab al-Mandab Strait (Gateway of Tears) into the Indian Ocean and along the coast of Yemen and Oman.
Ports of call include Salalah and Muscat in Oman, as well as Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi and of course Dubai in the UAE, where the cruise ends. In Abu Dhabi, Explora II will stay overnight in port, giving passengers time to explore the UAE’s capital and surrounding areas, such as the expansive Empty Quarter.
Explora II will then sail a range of cruises from Dubai, India and South Africa, before returning to the Middle East in March, 2025, for another 9-night roundtrip cruise from Jeddah on March 29th.
This cruise features the same ports of call as the 2024 roundtrip, but with the addition of Sharm El Sheik, a beach resort town in Egypt. The ship stays overnight in Aqaba and Al Wajh on this cruise.
Then on April 7th, 2025 Explora II sails from Jeddah for Piraeus (Athens), in Greece. The 9-night itinerary features port calls in Port Sokhna and Port Suez in Egypt, Haifa in Israel, and Paphos in Cyprus before arriving in Athens. The port call in Haifa is an overnight, giving passengers the opportunity to explore the holy city of Jerusalem nearby.